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College Reporter WFNM Article

F&M’s student operated college radio station, WFNM, has come under new leadership in the past year and undergone several transformations, the most notable of which is a shift to a new medium — the Internet. The change was implemented by WFNM’s General Managers, Adam Gould ’10 and Joe Fucigna ’10, along with colleague Brian Hughes ’09. Both general managers sat down with The College Reporter to talk about the recent changes.

The College Reporter: What were your primary goals when you assumed leadership of WFNM?.

Joe Fucinga: We assumed leadership with a few important goals. WFNM’s standing in the college community has been increasingly diminished in the past few years. We wanted to revamp the station, make it more prominent. We hired a new executive board and organized a big advertising push. But our number one goal from day one was to get the station on the Internet.

TCR: What progress have you made putting WFNM online?

Fucigna: We’re not online just yet — we’re in the process of putting on the final touches. WFNM should be online by next week.

Adam Gould: WFNM will be online thanks to a start up program called Backbone Student Network. It allows for networking between schools via a main hub, or pool, of shared music. All the schools involved, along with public radio and the Backbone network itself, contribute music to the hub.

Fucigna: Backbone is exciting because we’re getting in at the ground level. It was just approved last week with iTunes, so when someone searches “college radio” on iTunes, F&M will be on the list. Other colleges have experienced a drastic increase in listeners by doing this — schools with only 10 listeners increased up to 200.

TCR: What will the Backbone network and going online do for WFNM? How will it better the station?

Fucigna: We hope it will reconnect the F&M community. Right now, WFNM has a 25-mile broadcast radius. That limits us to a listener base around Lancaster. In going online, though, we can reach people everywhere. Alumni and parents will be able to listen in. Potential students can listen to shows to get a feel for the school.

Gould: Going online will also let us archive all of our shows in the Backbone database. We realize radio is on the decline, and WFNM has lost prominence because radio is perceived as a thing of the past. Radios are a hassle, and not everyone on campus has one. Something everyone does have, though, is a computer. We recognize computers are where we need to go.

TCR: What prevented WFNM from going online earlier? Say, five years ago?

Gould: I’m not entirely sure — no past General Managers were able to find an economic solution I assume. They were unable to get funding from the school. When we came here there was no money. We raised the necessary funds through DJing and non-commercial advertising.

TCR: So WFNM will be online within the next week — exciting. Any other plans or last remarks?

Fucigna: We’re doing another advertising push, hanging up signs on campus and around Lancaster, so look out. We want to reconnect with students, so give us a chance and listen — you’ll like what you hear.


Artist Spotlight


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No Age

Los Angeles duo No Age has been receiving deserved acclaim. Emerging from the center of L.A.’s re-born punk community, the band is known for its loyal fan-base, freewheeling art-punk musical aesthetic, and songs that actually validate the hype. This tight-knit scene comes to life in a series of performance spaces opened in crumpling, left-for-dead buildings that line the downtown L.A. wayside. The scene’s heart lies in the Smell, a former Mexican grocery store turned all-ages punk-revival site. No Age have the keys to the club, and they’re among its more frequent performers and most amiable curators. Other emerging bands to watch out for in this L.A. scene include HEALTH and Mika Miko. No Age’s 2007 release, Weirdo Rippers, collects the best of the band’s previously released vinyl-only singles for one of the most consistently enthralling, replay-able records of 2007. No Age seems to be more concerned about texture and atmosphere than immediacy, covering vast sonic terrain in brief bursts on this terrific album.

No Age consists of Dean Spunt and Randy Randall, and they plan to release Nouns, their first proper full-length album and Sub Pop debut, on May 5th, 2008.

Music Review

Artist: Times New Viking
Album: Rip it Off
Label: Matador

Review By: Dan Kober

Times New Viking’s new record will put-off many people. It will also destroy your ears. It’s not something I can recommend to my friends without warnings and explanations. This record isn’t for everyone, but I don’t want to scare people from finding out what it is all about. Rip It Off jolts me like noisy records from Liars and No Age did last year. The difference is that this record is celebratory and totally life affirming. Less art-damage here. This record revels in its glorious cacophony that has affectionately been called “shit-gaze”. And that term is by all means a hypocorism for “awesomeness”. Despite its roughness, there is nothing half-assed about this record. It’s cathartic, irresistible, and every kind of cool. It doesn’t hold back, yet at no point is it exhausting or vertigo-inducing.

Rip It Off is the Columbus, Ohio trio’s Matador debut and third overall release, after two on the newly resurrected Siltbreeze label. This album eschews any modifications in sound that you’d expect with such a label jump. It has to be one of the noisiest records Matador has ever released. Glad to see the guys who brought us 90’s lo-fi heroes like Guided By Voices and Pavement delivering a band as electric as Times New Viking. Still, this album must be properly served and digested before Times New Viking become your new favorite underground upstarts. On first listen, the production sounds like a joke. The music sounds like someone sent the tapes through the garbage disposal. But this is deliberate and it works. Give it awhile, and play it with the volume down at first. I have a semi-relevant analogy. Anyone who knows me can attest that I like to wear my pants a teensy bit tight. When all of my tight pants were in the laundry, I busted out my old relaxed-fit jeans from sophomore year, and got lots of upset reactions from folks who had previously deemed my choice of pants questionable. My initially off-putting style seemed to have grown on them. Similarly, now that I am past my initial reaction to this album, I find myself becoming emotionally attached to these songs and this endearingly “bad” production style. The band seems to be challenging the listener to drop their entirely selfish expectations of how a record is “supposed” to sound, to listen to the earnest energy behind these songs, and to feel something new. If Times New Viking ditched the blown speakers and toy keyboards for computer effects and clean synths, the results would be upsetting. If they ever do make the big change, now they can at least be proud of what they left behind.

On this record, Times New Viking refuse to surrender the stubbornly lo-fi aesthetic used on their previous releases, Dig Yourself and The Paisley Reich. The exuberant boy/girl vocals of Adam Elliot and Beth Murphy remain irreverent and muddied as ever, and the jagged punk riffs of the group’s past efforts remain ultra-satisfying. The drums are also still barely audible. The record’s one moment of lucidity comes late in the album, in the thirty-something second denouement of “The End Of All Things.” The electric guitar drops out for an acoustic, campfire sing-along moment and [finally!] clear, unmasked vocals can be heard. This is the record’s sweetest moment, and its placement is legitimately funny in how unexpectedly and fleetingly the band finally lets its epidermis show. The overall difference between this album and the last two is in the songwriting. This is the band’s most memorable batch of songs yet. And the songs only benefit from the initially offensive production. Guitars sound refreshingly genuine as they buzz and wail on this album. Whatever grog these guys are serving up, I’m drinking it down.


Recommended if you like:
No Age: Weirdo Rippers
Yo La Tengo: Painful
Guided By Voices: Alien Lanes
Pavement: Slanted and Enchanted